In 2016 we celebrated our city – 75 years of rebuilding after the city was bombed. You’ll find our history and see a different side of Rotterdam by looking down and following the Fire Boundary lights.
On May 14th in 1940 the historical heart of Rotterdam was destroyed in less than 15 minutes by a German bombardment and a devastating fire which followed thereafter. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine that more than 800 people were killed, 25,000 houses and 14,000 buildings were destroyed and 80,000 people became homeless.
It was through one of my projects that I became interested in this piece of history. The reconstruction of the inner-city of Rotterdam was based on a modern plan designed in 1946. Ever since they started (re)building here, the city’s slowly changed into a modern metropolis.
In 2006 our City Council decided to physically mark the 12 kilometre long periphery of the WWII bombardment and fire limit, the so-called ‘fire boundary’. The Fire Boundary Walk was designed and is divided into a West, a North and an East route.
Try getting a free map at the tourist office. When walking the route you look for the red lights in the pavement (see picture), these light the way. There’s a figurine of the statue Zadkine and memorial stones where the map of Rotterdam is carved which points out the part you’re at. There’s also a book available. At the Noordereiland, you will see that some lights are green instead of red. That’s to indicate the bombing was done by the allies, i.e. “Friendly fire”.